No more sunny days for the Pakistani version of the childrens’ television show, after USAID pulled $20 million in funding amid reports of financial irregularities.
The United States has terminated $20 million in funding meant to develop a Pakistani version of the children’s television show Sesame Street, the U.S. Embassy said Tuesday, after a local newspaper reported accusations of corruption on the part of the show’s Lahore-based partner.
The Real Story:
The USAID team actually brought Rafi Peer Theater team onsite to the US consulate and informed them that the program was being terminated because USAID had run out of available funding and would no longer be in a position to support the project. A month after informing Rafi Peer Theater of this decision USAID started the vilification campaign in local and US media.
As part of the original preparation exercise for this project, the Rafi Peer Theater workshop team spent a year in consultation with the USAID team in understanding and implementing process, controls and procedures specified by USAID as a pre-requirement for disbursement of funds. The revised processes, manuals, and SOPS were reviewed and approved by USAID. The original funding was release after 12 months of up-gradation o of controls and processes.
The Rafi Peer Theater team has been working with many international donors (and continues to work with them) on projects focused around children Theater for the last 9 years. They have gone through numerous donor and project audits in the past and the process of communicating shortfalls and issues is generally very transparent and open.
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